Welsh pop-rock upstarts Straight Lines’ brilliant second album is released in the UK today, so there’s probably no better time to post my five-minute chat with the lead singer Thomas Jenkins, guitarist James Pugh and bassist Todd Campbell during their UK tour in February.
First off – how’s the tour been so far?
Thomas: It’s been really good. Most of the shows have been sold out and there’s been really good crowds and really good fun.
The new album’s out in April – can you tell me a little bit about that please?
Thomas: Todd (our bass player) produced the album and we recorded at his studio – the same one where we did the first album. We did it about a year ago, actually but we’re finally getting around to releasing it now.
What was the hold up?
Thomas: Nothing, really. We just had to decide when was the best time to put it out. We left it too late in the year so we thought we’d just leave it until 2012.
Only two of the band wrote the debut album, with the other members arriving later. Does this mean that the second album was recorded or written differently?
Thomas: It was more of like a full band album – it’s probably more of our first album.
James: The first album was for another band...
Thomas: Yeah, the songs were years old and that album was just a load of songs thrown together whereas this one was different from the start. We kind of took a different approach to production - kept it basic and didn’t layer too much stuff so it’s just like what you hear live.
Is it difficult having a member of the band producing the album?
Thomas: We just get together in the practice room and just run through everything. Everyone has their own say but then obviously Todd will have his final say in the studio. It’s quite easy really. There’s no disputes and it’s a pretty good process.
James: We always agree on things.
There are two singles from that album online at the moment, how are they going down live?
Thomas: We open the set with those two song and it’s nice to see people already singing along and good that people can finally hear our new material.
In the past year or so you’ve toured with a lot of huge British bands like Twin Atlantic and Funeral For A Friend. What do you make of the scene over here at the moment?
Thomas: It’s really strong. You’re always hearing British rock bands on Radio 1 daytime now and You Me At Six, Twin Atlantic and We Are The Ocean are out in America doing a tour over there so obviously it’s spreading worldwide.
Does that give you guys something achievable to aim for?
Thomas: Yeah. It’d be great to take our music around the world. But at the moment we’re just struggling to make a name for ourselves in our country.
Apart from the bands that’ve already been mentioned, what are your favourite British bands out there at the moment?
Thomas: There are a few from Wales like Tiger Please (AB: now The People The Poet), Cuba Cuba as well – who are from our hometown. I kind of lose touch but there’s a good few bands out there.
So what’s the plan for the album release?
Thomas: We haven’t booked any headline tour at the moment but that’s something we’ll be looking into once the album comes out. We’ve got a free release show on the 23rd of April at the Macbeth in London.
Finally, could you sum your band up in three words for people who haven’t heard you before?
Todd: Death Metal Shit.
James: Rock and roll.
Freaks Like Us will be released in the UK on 04/23/12.